By Kate Crawford via nytimes.com Article
Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem
“Accoring to some prominent voices in the tech world, artificial intelligence presents a looming existential threat to humanity: Warnings by luminaries like Elon Musk and Nick Bostrom about ‘the singularity’ — when machines become smarter than humans — have attracted millions of dollars and spawned a multitude of conferences.
But this hand-wringing is a distraction from the very real problems with artificial intelligence today, which may already be exacerbating inequality in the workplace, at home and in our legal and judicial systems. Sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many ‘intelligent’ systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to. …
We need to be vigilant about how we design and train these machine-learning systems, or we will see ingrained forms of bias built into the artificial intelligence of the future.
Like all technologies before it, artificial intelligence will reflect the values of its creators. So inclusivity matters — from who designs it to who sits on the company boards and which ethical perspectives are included. Otherwise, we risk constructing machine intelligence that mirrors a narrow and privileged vision of society, with its old, familiar biases and stereotypes.
If we look at how systems can be discriminatory now, we will be much better placed to design fairer artificial intelligence. But that requires far more accountability from the tech community. Governments and public institutions can do their part as well: As they invest in predictive technologies, they need to commit to fairness and due process.
While machine-learning technology can offer unexpected insights and new forms of convenience, we must address the current implications for communities that have less power, for those who aren’t dominant in elite Silicon Valley circles.
Currently the loudest voices debating the potential dangers of superintelligence are affluent white men, and, perhaps for them, the biggest threat is the rise of an artificially intelligent apex predator.”
But for those who already face marginalization or bias, the threats are here.”